Business | Business News
The South African Post Office (Sapo) shutting down 130 branches might jeopardise the South African Social Security Agency’s (Sassa’s) grant agreement.
Sassa spokesman Paseka Letsatsi said the agency’s chief executive officer (CEO), Totsie Memela, would meet with her counterparts to understand the implication of Sapo’s decision regarding Sassa’s beneficiaries.
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“Sassa signed the service level agreement with [the Sapo] and the expectation was for the agreement not be violated,” he said.
According to the Sapo’s CEO Nomkhita Mona, the decision to locate some post office branches in shopping malls was taken years ago.
“The result was a proliferation of post offices within a short kilometre radius in urban areas. The disproportionate cost, as well as changing consumer behaviour, led the Post Office to make the decision to merge post offices mostly in urban areas,” she said.
Mona added the footprint enabled the Post Office to reach as many citizens as possible, which included people in rural areas.
“This service is done as part of the Universal Postal Services obligation, in which the Post Office has to provide all citizens reasonable access to postal services,” she noted.
Democratic Alliance shadow minister of social development Bridget Masango said the party would submit parliamentary questions to the department of social development to find out what contingency plans were put in place for the payment of social grants which may be affected by these closures.
“The closure of these cash distribution points will potentially leave vulnerable grant recipients in a lurch. The Sapo was ultimately awarded the contract to distribute grants because of its wide footprint through the country and its ability to reach millions of poor South Africans,” she said.
Sapo spokesman Johan Kruger said 50 post offices would still be merged.
“This was a gradual process, as a branch was considered for merging only when the lease contract expired. Branches in rural areas were not considered for merging and there would be a post office in almost every village and town,” he said.